Things to Do in Ashburton

Of course, no visit to Ashburton is complete without exploring the beautiful Dartmoor National Park within which the town sits, but Dartmoor isn’t the only thing drawing people to the region.  

A cultural hub for Dartmoor 

As the largest of Dartmoor’s towns, Ashburton is a real hub for culture and is home to the oldest carnival in the entire county. Ashburton Carnival was believed to have started in the 1880s, with records dating back to that century. It was initially started to raise funds for a new hospital and visiting crowds continue to fundraise for local causes every year.  

There are also a number of unusual ceremonial events to take part in every year many of which hark back to the days of the tin mines. These include ale tasting and bread weighing – where else can you experience that?!  

One of the popular pastimes on Dartmoor is the art of letterboxing – an activity which involves hiding boxes in various places around the National Park for others to find. It’s a great activity for the whole family with trails and hints on where to find hidden boxes – why not give it a try and get away from those screens for a few hours!  

History and heritage 

As a former stannery town, there is still evidence of the region’s tin industry and there are a number of Grade II listed buildings that can be found. St Lawrence’s Chapel is located in the centre of town and has previously been a church and a grammar school dating back over 600 years. Another Grade II listed building can be found on West Street, now the home of Ashburton Arts Centre, it was initially the oldest Methodist church in the town and is thought to date back to the 1830s. St Andrew’s Parish Church is believed to be from the 15th century and has Norman features, as well as a number of fascinating statues.   

You’ll also find a museum that covers the town’s history with a real focus on mining and wool processing – the two main industries for the Dartmoor area.  

For those of you who like your leisure facilities, there are lots of organisations and companies operating from and around the town so you can really experience the best of Dartmoor, from climbing to orienteering and guided walks, there are loads of ways to get out and have an adventure. That’s not all, Ashburton is also home to their own sports centre, offering a whole host of facilities for those staying nearby. In the summer months, you can enjoy the outdoor heated pool and the town’s skatepark offers a great place for younger visitors to while away the hours.  

Grab a gift 

If you’re looking for the perfect unique gift for friends and family, Ashburton is the place to shop – featuring an eclectic mix of independent shops full of unusual items, many of which are locally sourced.  

Not only that, but situated halfway between Plymouth and Exeter, the county’s two cities, you are easily able to explore some of the more famous shopping areas.